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Cameron's IP Advisor: Throw Persistent Copyright Infringers In Jail

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the gradient-of-values dept.

United Kingdom 263

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from TorrentFreak: "During a debate on the UK's Intellectual Property Bill, the Prime Minister's Intellectual Property Adviser has again called for a tougher approach to online file-sharing. In addition to recommending 'withdrawing Internet rights from lawbreakers,' Mike Weatherley MP significantly raised the bar by stating that the government must now consider 'some sort of custodial sentence for persistent offenders.' Google also got a bashing – again." The article goes on to say "Weatherley noted that the Bill does not currently match penalties for online infringement with those available to punish infringers in the physical world. The point was detailed by John Leech MP, who called for the maximum penalty for digital infringement to be increased to 10 years’ imprisonment instead of the current two years."

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263 comments

Ob frosty (5, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 3 months ago | (#46046249)

John Leech? I take he doesn't seed back, then?

I'd Just Like To Say (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046543)

beta.Slashdot.org sucks a lama's ass and I am tired of being forced to it!

It seems that Slashdot is determined to kill itself. Cmdr Taco's Trove is DoA. Looks like Reddit will win, at least fro the time being.

Re:Ob frosty (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about 3 months ago | (#46046701)

He's my MP, but I'm afraid I can't report on his file-sharing habits.

And to lend some context to his words, from TFA:

“The discrepancy I mentioned is a source of great frustration. For example, the private prosecution by the Federation Against Copyright Theft of Anton Vickerman, who was making £50,000 a month from running a website [SurfTheChannel] that facilitated mass-scale copyright infringement, saw him convicted of conspiracy to defraud and sentenced to four years in prison,” Leech explained.

“This level of sentence would not have been possible if he had been prosecuted under copyright law, but FACT was able to prove conspiracy in his actions. Without proof of conspiracy, a serious criminal could have been left subject to a disproportionately low maximum penalty.”

In a way, I do agree with his point; those making that sort of money from infringement do need to be punished properly. However, it'll be all too easy to abuse this sort of measure, and end up with the disproportion going the other way.

Re:Ob frosty (5, Informative)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 3 months ago | (#46046823)

He's my MP, but I'm afraid I can't report on his file-sharing habits.

And to lend some context to his words, from TFA:

“The discrepancy I mentioned is a source of great frustration. For example, the private prosecution by the Federation Against Copyright Theft of Anton Vickerman, who was making £50,000 a month from running a website [SurfTheChannel] that facilitated mass-scale copyright infringement, saw him convicted of conspiracy to defraud and sentenced to four years in prison,” Leech explained.

“This level of sentence would not have been possible if he had been prosecuted under copyright law, but FACT was able to prove conspiracy in his actions. Without proof of conspiracy, a serious criminal could have been left subject to a disproportionately low maximum penalty.”

In a way, I do agree with his point; those making that sort of money from infringement do need to be punished properly. However, it'll be all too easy to abuse this sort of measure, and end up with the disproportion going the other way.

The crime here was fraud. The guy sold something he did not have the rights to sell. Kind of like someone selling your house without your knowledge. IANAL, but as I understand it, we have laws (as was seen in this case) that address these issues. Sending someone to prison for ten years (or at all) for downloading the latest episode of some crap TV show or movie for their personal use is ridiculous. That is and should be a civil matter, IMHO.

Making money on infringement (5, Insightful)

WillAdams (45638) | about 3 months ago | (#46046917)

Is it possible to make lots of money from copyright infringement w/o breaking lots of other laws?

If that's not the case, why do we need more?

Re:Making money on infringement (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46047037)

I for one wasn't going to pirate anything today. But I am making it a point to hit The Pirate Bay and download whatever catches my eye. Fuck John Leech.

Re:Ob frosty (1)

Goaway (82658) | about 3 months ago | (#46046955)

In a way, I do agree with his point; those making that sort of money from infringement do need to be punished properly.

You're behind on the trends. These days, making big money off the work of others makes you a hero. Just look at Kim Dotcom!

Re:Ob frosty (5, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 3 months ago | (#46047075)

No, he's still pretty much an asshole, but he was also the victim of some fairly serious abuse of process, involving governments across at least two continents. As with many laws, you have to defend people you don't like.

rights (4, Insightful)

Ragzouken (943900) | about 3 months ago | (#46046267)

"withdrawing [...] rights from lawbreakers" I don't think that's how rights work?

Re:rights (3, Interesting)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#46046413)

Yeah, it sort of is. Rights, as we know them, are derived from the social contract, and withdrawal of one or more of those rights(such as freedom of movement) is necessary to preserve the benefits of the social contract to everyone else. It shouldn't be done unnecessarily(like this) or to unreasonable extremes(like removal of right not to be tortured), but protection of rights is done with the understanding that you won't use your rights to infringe the rights of others.

*You can make the argument that rights are natural or divine in origin, but that's an unprovable derail I'd prefer not to go down.

Re:rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046687)

No. If you want to infringe upon someone's fundamental rights (such as freedom of speech), you need to screw off. If you want to infringe upon 'lesser' rights, then you need a damn good reason to do so (the death of thousands). Otherwise, screw off. The social contract is useful, but fundamental liberties must reign supreme. You could point out that freedom of speech can infringe upon others' rights, but it is the actions of people (not even necessarily the speaker) that do so, not the speech; if people believe nonsense that 'harms' someone's intangible reputation, that's their own fault for believing it, and any actions they take as a result of that that harm the victim is their own fault, not the speaker's.

Trading freedom for safety (whether real or fake) is not a road I want to go down when we're talking about fundamental rights. I've had enough of that with the TSA, the NSA, copyright, patents, suspicion-less border searches, free speech zones, protest permits, DUI checkpoints, and constitution-free zones. Those are problems in the US, but a few of them are problems in other countries, too.

Re:rights (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#46046927)

Ugh, read some goddamned John Locke [wikisource.org]. Depriving people of rights to continue a condition that allows rights is an inevitability, not just a choice.

Re:rights (1)

Goaway (82658) | about 3 months ago | (#46046967)

So which is it: Do you oppose putting anybody in jail, or do you think freedom of movement isn't a fundamental right?

Re:rights (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 3 months ago | (#46046849)

There are no rights. Contracts need to be consented to, otherwise there is no contract, just terms dicated to the individual whether he agrees or not.

There is just a list of revokable privileges and it gets shorter every year.

Re:rights (0)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#46046957)

Requirement of consent to contracts is a right deleniated by the social contract. The natural condition is doing whatever you want, like clubbing rolfwind's head in. A social structure creates the idea of respecting consent, not the other way around.

Dense fucking libertarians, trying to use their derived concepts as a basis for themselves.

Re:rights (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 3 months ago | (#46046443)

No, that's how it works. It's generally accepted that withholding rights from some is required to ensure public safety or other collective benefit. That's why prisons exist. It just has to be done with suitable safeguards (Right to legal advice, right to a fair trial, right to see the evidence against them, etc) to make sure that no person is falsely convicted. Doesn't always work out so well in practice, but no society has found a better solution yet.

Re:rights (1)

allaunjsiIverfox2 (3506701) | about 3 months ago | (#46046723)

It's generally accepted that withholding rights from some is required to ensure public safety or other collective benefit.

In some cases, I feel that infringing upon certain rights is unacceptable no matter what. Copyrights and patents will always be absolutely disgusting to me because of their effect of private property, and copyright's effect on freedom of speech.

Re:rights (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 3 months ago | (#46046445)

I'm fairly sure prisons withdraw quite a few rights, parole somewhat less but unless it's "cruel and unusual punishment" - sorry, wrong country - the court can do pretty much as they want. I do believe hackers and others convicted of other serious offenses can already be banned from using computers.

Re:rights (3, Interesting)

shentino (1139071) | about 3 months ago | (#46046781)

You don't have an unconditional right to freedom. What you do have is the right to due process before it is taken away.

Re:rights (1)

Megol (3135005) | about 3 months ago | (#46046685)

It is in the land of the free. Removing voting rights for people that have committed some crime skews the democratic process but it's what is done. :/

Re:rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46047027)

Once a person has shown that they have a blatant disregard for the rights and property of others and the proper functioning of society, why should they be allowed to determine how society functions?

The only solution (4, Insightful)

Kardos (1348077) | about 3 months ago | (#46046279)

is not to play the game. The rise of creative commons and the like will end this oppressive copyright regime. Free software and free culture is the only way to go.

Re:The only solution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046467)

I agree but we have far more people here who are of the opinion that if something doesn't cost what they think it's worth that just taking it is a fine alternative.
 
It's like digital music distribution. First we heard that if it was reasonably priced, prices came down and piracy continued. Then it was "ZoMG!!! Teh DRMz!" and when the majority of distributors removed the DRM it was "I really don't like the quality of the product but I still use it anyway" excuse. Or the "I don't support teh MAFIAAAAAA" excuse. Or the "They should make money touring" excuse... etc etc etc.
 
The bottom line is that no price beats free. The people who were sharing back in the glory days of Napster are still ripping off content today. Changes in the business models made every one of their excuses invalid and as much as companies bent over backwards to get these people to be honest customers the trend just continued. Those who "sample" content should just be honest and admit that they never have any intentions of ever paying for content even if you could by a full album for a dime. But, AFAIC, these same people are basically admitting that they don't give a crap about art in any fashion as long they get whatever their greedy little hands can lay hold of. At least they'd have the virtue of admitting that they're common thieves at that point.
 
I'd love to see these people who try to justify being a thief at least put some skin in the game so when their content is ripped off they'll have a taste of what they're dishing out. A lot of "if I made music I'd let people trade it" happening and not a lot of "I make music and I've released it for free" going on.

Re:The only solution (4, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 3 months ago | (#46046669)

Oh, cry me a river. Companies bending over backward? Wooo-hoo. You're hallucinating. THE COMPANIES HAVE YOU BENT OVER A BARREL, AND YOU LIKE IT!

The thieves are those who have gone to Congress to get copyright law changed, so that copyright will never expire. In effect, they have bribed congress to grant them a monopoly on music into perpetuity.

Re:The only solution (3, Interesting)

stealth_finger (1809752) | about 3 months ago | (#46046691)

I'd love to see these people who try to justify being a thief at least put some skin in the game so when their content is ripped off they'll have a taste of what they're dishing out. A lot of "if I made music I'd let people trade it" happening and not a lot of "I make music and I've released it for free" going on.

I love the way it's always thiefs.

Bottomline is, the people that are going to buy it will. They may pirate it first but that will mostly be followed by a sale unless the product is not as good as expected and even then in the case of collectors etc it may get bought anyway. The people that aren't going to buy it won't. They may also pirate as well but only because they can, they get it because it's there but if it wasn't then no big deal.

Obviously there are the minority that are going to pirate everything they can for whatever reason they choose, but they haven't deprived anyone of any property so nothing has been thieved anyway.

Re:The only solution (1)

allaunjsiIverfox2 (3506701) | about 3 months ago | (#46046779)

that just taking it is a fine alternative.

It would be problematic if people were actually taking anything, but that's not the case.

Maybe the real problem is that people (and the government would agree, sadly) feel that they're entitled to monopolies over ideas and procedures that are enforced by the government. Of course, this leads to censorship and the infringement of people's real private property rights, so these monopolies are intolerable.

The bottom line is that no price beats free.

In a free market, it's up to you to figure out how to profit. If you can't do that, then too bad for you.

I'd love to see these people who try to justify being a thief at least put some skin in the game so when their content is ripped off they'll have a taste of what they're dishing out.

Your ad hominems are worthless and don't serve to debunk any arguments. "You'd agree with X if you were in situation Y!" is not a logical argument.

Re:The only solution (1)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 3 months ago | (#46046923)

Changes in the business models made every one of their excuses invalid and as much as companies bent over backwards to get these people to be honest customers the trend just continued.

Chris Dodd, Is that you?

The only other solution... (4, Insightful)

Andy_R (114137) | about 3 months ago | (#46046493)

...is legalisation. Non commercial sharing of information isn't wrong, or bad for the economy, so the best solution is to legalise it.

Re:The only solution (4, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 3 months ago | (#46046533)

No, it won't, for a number of reasons:
- The power of marketing. Commercial interests can throw enough money at promoting anything to make it popular, at least for a time. Who wants to go see Obscure Indie Horror Flick that they read about on facebook when there is massive television advert promotion for Buckets of CGI Blood VII - and it's being featured on talk shows, endorsed by celebrities, and appears on billboards?

- Incidential infringement. It happens, a lot. The greatest source of clipart today is google image search. People frequently grab popular songs to remix or dub over their own videos for youtube. Typically this is done by people who just don't care about copyright and know next to nothing about it.

- Closing the wagons. If creative commons every seriously becomes a threat to entrenched interests, do you expect them to just take it lying down? No, they'll use every dirty trick in the book! You'll probably find informal agreements abound to exclude the upstarts, making it very difficult for them to be promoted outside of social networking. Radio stations will likewise refuse to play creative commons music, for fear of being blacklisted by the major labels they depend upon a lot more heavily. Same goes in software - look at the measures Microsoft has taken over the last twenty years to fight linux with deliberate incompatibilities and aggressive business tactics, and continues to take with such measures as Secure Boot. They've not been entirely victorious, but they've certainly made linux advocates and developers fight hard for every scrap of ground they have gained.

CC may well bring on a real revolution in popular culture, but it's certainly not inevitable.

Re:The only solution (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 3 months ago | (#46046819)

- Incidential infringement. It happens, a lot. The greatest source of clipart today is google image search. People frequently grab popular songs to remix or dub over their own videos for youtube. Typically this is done by people who just don't care about copyright and know next to nothing about it.

I don't think that it's that they don't care about it, it's just that they don't view it as copyright infringement. They think of it more as fair use. It's not, but in their eyes and minds since they aren't "commercially" releasing it to make money off of it, or calling it their own work, then it's all good.

Re:The only solution (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 3 months ago | (#46046557)

Nonsense, there's always more than one way to skin a cat. For instance: skinning public officials who consistently value the rights of people who give them money over the rights of the public. Torrent the last season of game of thrones for instructions on that method.

Re:The only solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046599)

It's a fart in a wind storm.

Re:The only solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046605)

Nope. With laws that allow someone to copyright a public domain or CC protected work just because they broadcast it, a work can be "tainted" very easily, so a Shakespeare poem can get someone 10 years just as a Justin Bieber track would.

Re:The only solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046995)

You can use creative commons all you want, and you'll still get copyright claims against you which will close your online accounts, now with the possibility of automatic jail time in the UK. All it takes is someone to use a creative commons audio track in a copyrighted work, then Content ID will flag all creative commons works using that track as infringing.

Even having a word contained within a popular movie title as a filename in an archive, will automatically get you a DMCA complaint.

We can obey the law all we want and use Creative Commons, and we'll still get slammed down as infrigers.

Penalty Doesnt Match the Crime (1)

number17 (952777) | about 3 months ago | (#46046281)

Weatherley underlined that he did indeed mean prison should be an option not only for those running sites, but those who keep on downloading despite the warnings.

Is this guy a martyr or do we just chalk this up as another politician with crazy ideas that won't pass the majority test? Perhaps his boss doesn't give him enough work to do.

Re:Penalty Doesnt Match the Crime (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 months ago | (#46046371)

Is this guy a martyr or do we just chalk this up as another politician with crazy ideas that won't pass the majority test?

You seem awfully confident it couldn't get passed into law.

I'm less certain of that. The copyright owners and their lobbyists are working to chip away at our rights to make them secondary to theirs -- because they essentially want all digital technology to be controlled and used as they allow us.

I fear this could be something which happens eventually. And I fear that they will be pushing this exact same agenda elsewhere.

Case in point, the FBI gets called in because someone was wearing Google Glasses in a movie theater, even though he wasn't recording. And ICE and DHS do domain takedowns of places suspected of violating copyright (or facilitating it).

Governments are increasingly becoming tools of corporations to enforce their wishes on us.

So what you and I is becoming irrelevant, it's what the big corporations can pay for. And they have far more money than we do.

Re:Penalty Doesnt Match the Crime (1)

rts008 (812749) | about 3 months ago | (#46046705)

Well, actually it was Dept. of
Homeland Security that was called in, the 'suspected copyright infringer' was under the mistaken impression they were FBI agents at first.

But that really doesn't detract from your insightful comment, I just like things to remain factual/accurate when possible. :-)

Re:Penalty Doesnt Match the Crime (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 months ago | (#46046775)

Really? As it was reported (fairly widely) it was FBI.

Still, the irony of DHS doing this makes the agency as draconian as the name initially suggested it would eventually be.

I'll try not to trigger Godwin's law, but ...

In all honesty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046297)

there is no such thing as "intellectual property". It's a farce designed to protect companies from competition. I'm all for no patents, no "IP". Compete on pure, raw likes and dislikes from customers. Full stop. Stop this wanking about with asinine laws. Bloody lawyers...

Re:In all honesty (1)

NMBob (772954) | about 3 months ago | (#46046715)

You're right. I would have no problem handing money straight to Bergman/Bogart/Henried/whoever for a copy of Casablanca, but who gets the money now (even though I have two legal, VHS and DVD, copies)? All of the principle actors are dead. No one should keep getting money for their performances. Same for books and this crap revolving around the BBC show Sherlock. Everyone else that worked on the movie was paid a salary. Digitize the ultimate version of it, give it to the Museum Of The Moving Image for free distribution and STFU. I wish as much effort was expended on investigating the party in Benghazi as they expend worrying about this crap. If it's good people will buy it, once, if it's not people won't.

TFA reads like a political fundraising letter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046303)

One MP advocates extreme measures... so what.

"So everybody better get off their butt, stand up and oppose these crazy people RIGHT NOW!" OK maybe, but let me check my email and do a few other things first.

Impractical? (2)

MeesterCat (926256) | about 3 months ago | (#46046305)

Because our prisons are already nearly full...

https://www.gov.uk/government/... [www.gov.uk]

Re:Impractical? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 months ago | (#46046553)

Because our prisons are already nearly full...

Then you're doing it wrong.

Prisons are supposed to be a massive, for-profit industry to allow corporations the maximum opportunity to leverage synergies and enhance shareholder value, and your justice system is meant to feed as many people as possible into it.

Sheesh, don't you guys know anything?

*sigh* If only that wasn't apparently true.

Re:Impractical? (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 3 months ago | (#46046783)

No problem. They'll just let murderers and rapists out early to make room for the real criminals.

Wrong approach (4, Insightful)

Peter Simpson (112887) | about 3 months ago | (#46046313)

The only way to fight personal, noncommercial "sharing", is to provide a one-stop download center with reasonable prices. It has worked for Amazon and Apple, but the media companies stubbornly refuse to cooperate and make their complete catalogs available in one place...so Pirate Bay does it for them.

The market is speaking as loudly as it can, but the media companies refuse to listen.

Re:Wrong approach (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046407)

They are not refusing to listen, they are pushing the courts to further distort the markets in their favour.

Get a law like Canada recently passed with a max penalty of $5k for ALL non-commercial infractions as a starting point to address the issue.

Next, as you point out perhaps rather then having the courts protect their "horse and buggy" business they should learn to adopt (although history shows they never have without a fight).

Re:Wrong approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046591)

Another problem is wealth inequality, for the average 'middle class' income $8 for a movie ticket, or $20 for a new release DVD may seem fine. And the studios stand to make more from 'that price point/class' than lowering it to be within range of lower income.
Speaking as someone who is retired and on low income(with liberal values on copyright) with lots of time to watch media, I don't bat an eye copying a movie/TV, when I come across movie/TV DVD's on clearance for a couple of dollars, I'll often buy them,even if I have a downloaded copy already, cause they are finally within budget.

intellectual property is not 'real property' and since no actual physical item is stolen I don't believe the end user should be punished. Anyone reselling for a profit, that is being taken from original creators, well thats another matter.

But politicians and law makers will do as they do;

-- When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.

Re:Wrong approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46047009)

-- When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.

No one fears the people more than a tyrant does.

Re:Wrong approach (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 3 months ago | (#46046625)

And add to that no DRM.

Yeah they love the DRM for some reason I can't quite work out. But basically it makes the product crap. It's either "streaming" in which case you need a decent, wired internet connection (how's your 3G data usage doing...?) or it's locked to some device in some way which means playing it on a decent screen or another portable device will suck.

The problem is not competing with "free" it's competing with "better".

Of course, most people don't really know about DRM. But that doesn't matter because they are at least vaguely aware of the effects. The pirate bay is better because:
* Excellent search engine.
* Nice one stop place for all media.
* Excellent choice in download clients (can prioitise, batch up, etc)
* You can use your favourite media player.
* You can play on any devices you own.
* You can copy from your laptop to your phone, tablet, other laptop, builtin player in TV
* You can transcode to a smaller file for your phone
* You can shove it on a USB stick and go to a friend's house for movie night
* You can play on any screen you own.
* Generally good download speeds, excellent for popular stuff.
* Generally a good choice of different size/quality
* Available in your country right now.

The fact that's is free is at worst icing and best actually a minor disincentive since a good number of people don't like the idea of being a freeloader.

Re:Wrong approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046899)

Right. This is the reason that The Beatles are still the most pirated group of all times... If iTunes just let me download their stuff for a reasonable price and DRM free...
 
Oh, wait...
 
Seriously, I'd agree with you 100% if the number one downloads coming off of PB were things like bootlegs of Pink Floyd's Meddle tour or some old Benny Carter recording that is no longer in print but when it's stuff that has never been out of print or is riding the tops of the charts today? Your argument fails. Simply fails. While you may have been modded up there isn't a single rational person here who doesn't see it as shallow "justification" for simply not paying for a product that you're using.

non violent offenders in prison = overcrowding (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 3 months ago | (#46046323)

Just look all of minor pot / marijuana offenders in jails / prisons.

also what the cost to keep people locked up as well

Re:non violent offenders in prison = overcrowding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046427)

Just look all of minor pot / marijuana offenders in jails / prisons.

also what the cost to keep people locked up as well

It does cost too much to keep them locked up - let's just shoot the motherfuckers!

just say NO to drugs, or kiss your ass goodbye

Re:non violent offenders in prison = overcrowding (1)

afxgrin (208686) | about 3 months ago | (#46046529)

Or we could just vote out these politicians who try to pass asinine laws that are basically an extortion scheme on the entire populace. Sounds like a much easier solution and moral solution than resorting to murdering or locking up people.

Re:non violent offenders in prison = overcrowding (1)

pslytely psycho (1699190) | about 3 months ago | (#46046581)

Good point, before we legalized it, WA state for the last several years put pot on the very low end of enforcement. If you weren't dealing, or carrying a large amount, you could only get popped for weed if you had it and got arrested for another offence. It was not a primary arrestable offence to simply be 'in possesion.'
I read during the debates leading up to legalization that the state saved $100 million a year by not busting people for mere possesion of a harmless weed.
Sanity at the state government level...who would of thought that possible.........maybe there is some hope.

Re:non violent offenders in prison = overcrowding (1)

pslytely psycho (1699190) | about 3 months ago | (#46046631)

OOPS....forgot to quote who I was replying to for clarity, meant to post:

"Just look all of minor pot / marijuana offenders in jails / prisons.

also what the cost to keep people locked up as well"

Good point, before we legalized it, WA state for the last several years put pot on the very low end of enforcement. If you weren't dealing, or carrying a large amount, you could only get popped for weed if you had it and got arrested for another offence. It was not a primary arrestable offence to simply be 'in possesion.'
I read during the debates leading up to legalization that the state saved $100 million a year by not busting people for mere possesion of a harmless weed.
Sanity at the state government level...who would of thought that possible.........maybe there is some hope.

Re:non violent offenders in prison = overcrowding (1)

pete6677 (681676) | about 3 months ago | (#46046885)

Although I'm all in favor of marijuana decriminalization, I also don't believe that prisons are full of people who have done nothing more than get arrested with a little bit of weed. Groups like NORML tend to exaggerate this a lot. They claim someone is locked up "just for pot" when in fact they had enough to be considered a dealer along with an illegal firearm. Quite a bit of difference.

exporting american exceptionalism (1, Insightful)

nimbius (983462) | about 3 months ago | (#46046329)

not to point out the obvious, but im sure its quite clear whos funneling cash to the Cameron administration when it comes to the policy of Imaginary Property.

What astounds me the most is that most foreign governments can simply choose to ignore the mpaa/riaa. future trade agreements with the states may be coloured by ones choice in dealings with them, but the large reality stands that no major disruption will occur if you pay them no regard as is evidenced by China. the problem stands that most foreign govrenments are chaired by a handful of plutocrats or career politicians that will gladly accept funding for continued operation in the contrary interest of their constituents that have comparatively no funding. A tipping point is reached at some point but by then the ruling class doesnt care; it was all just a game. They leave politics and become advisors or consultants, pad the lining of their pockets just a few dollars more, and retire comfortably in obscurity having not even the slightest notion what a 10 year prison sentence looks like outside of a newspaper article they once inspired during their tenure.

Re: exporting american exceptionalism (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 3 months ago | (#46046551)

Most countries have some national counterpart. Here in the UK, we have the BPI - our counterpart to the RIAA, and just as involved in lobbying.

How about jail for copyright enforcers? (5, Funny)

melikamp (631205) | about 3 months ago | (#46046333)

UDHR article 19:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Since enforcing copyright against people who share information online non-commercially is clearly a violation of a human right according to UDHR, to which UK is a signatory, how about throwing copyright enforcers in jail instead? How long is the public going to put up with this oppression?

Re:How about jail for copyright enforcers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046673)

The UDHR is not considered to be binding under international law.

However, the ICCPR (international covenant on civil and political rights), which is binding on signatories, might cover this issue.

Re:How about jail for copyright enforcers? (1)

melikamp (631205) | about 3 months ago | (#46046971)

Thanks! Indeed, it's almost word for word:

1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.

2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.

3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:

(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others;

(b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.

But unlike UDHR, this is merely lip service. They give it with one hand, and with the other hand they take it away completely. If a state gives out exclusive distribution rights, then third parties have the right to censor any kind of sharing (3a). Anything but pure flattery can be construed as disrespecting someone's reputation (3a). Anything at all can and have been construed as threatening national security: in particular, any kind of political speech (3b). Sadly, this document does nothing to protect the right to freedom of expression.

Will plagiarizing speeches count? (2)

sandbagger (654585) | about 3 months ago | (#46046337)

Given how often his colleagues have been found to be using other peoples' speeches, this could thin out the Tory caucus.

Re:Will plagiarizing speeches count? (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 3 months ago | (#46046429)

Of course not. This only applies to people that don't have political power. Non-politicians and non-corporate class.

I'd give these guys til the next election... (1)

moodboom (191676) | about 3 months ago | (#46046361)

before they are voted out. They may have powerful corporate backers, but these are the kinds of things that the younger generations just aren't going to put up with much longer. At least that's my hope.

I Think You're Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046471)

I think you're very wrong. The younger generations appear to me to be well on their way to being conditioned to accept this type of thing and much worse.

Less freedom, for your safety.
Less rights, for your safety.
Less privacy, for your safety.

They all seem willing to accept it and in many cases they are demanding that it be done.

Now, granted, this is about copyright violation so, it may actually be the straw that breaks the camel's back. But, I think that the camel's back is VERY strong indeed.

Re:I'd give these guys til the next election... (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 months ago | (#46046483)

They may have powerful corporate backers, but these are the kinds of things that the younger generations just aren't going to put up with much longer.

And as long as you convince the older generations (or the wealthy) that you're being tough on crime, doing your best to cut taxes, and cutting social spending ... they'll keep voting for you. Because they don't give a damn about much else.

And, as we saw from the Occupy protests ... they'll just turn the national security forces against them, and either deem them to be terrorists, or actively work to find other ways to make sure they can't get very far -- which is easy when you monitor everyone's communications just in case you need to single someone out later.

Even democracies suffer from those in power trying to keep the world the way they want it, and there's a huge imbalance of power.

I agree with your hope. I'm just far less confident in it.

Re:I'd give these guys til the next election... (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 3 months ago | (#46046737)

There's plenty of precedent. Just about all the major figures in the US civil rights movement, for example, were under government monitoring - they had quite the file on MLK, considering him a dangerous subversive.

Re:I'd give these guys til the next election... (1)

moodboom (191676) | about 3 months ago | (#46046739)

You're probably right, it's a long play hope. You have to wait for old folks to die off, and young folks to start caring enough to vote. In my mind, it's an inevitability. Circa 2100. Any sooner is probably wishful thinking.

In the mean time, I think Kardos had good advice [slashdot.org] recommending creative commons.

Re:I'd give these guys til the next election... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 months ago | (#46046939)

You have to wait for old folks to die off, and young folks to start caring enough to vote. In my mind, it's an inevitability. Circa 2100.

By which point they'll have passed even more terrible laws, and there will be several new generations of people in government invested in keeping things the same.

plea bargain (3, Insightful)

k6mfw (1182893) | about 3 months ago | (#46046363)

I can see it now, someone arrested for copyright infringement accepts a plea bargain for a violent crime conviction to get less jail time.

Re:plea bargain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046607)

We don't have plea bargins in the UK.

Corporate sycophants in office. (2, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 3 months ago | (#46046383)

We have it in the U.S. too. People with extreme pro-corporate positions making it to office...

In the U.S. we've got people under surveillance because they have spoken up against Fraking. That's what happens in a corporate state.

Yea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046405)

And traffic cam violators need to be hanged!

We need some fucking order and respect for the law!

Soon it'll be cheaper to kill an MPAA stooge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046409)

than to copy a movie, regarding the prison-term. I think this may be a matter where you want to be careful what you wish for.

That is fine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046421)

If you increase the penalty for drink/drive accidents that make injuries to the same time.

Sounds good (4, Interesting)

EMG at MU (1194965) | about 3 months ago | (#46046433)

Great, it should apply to everyone. Government officials, corporate execs, and the music industry itself.

The problem (besides jail time being a disproportionate punishment for copyright infringement) is that when someone in the government is found to have stolen an image or text from the internet, nothing happens. When a politician illegally uses a song for a campaign rally and the band finds out, all the politician has to do is release some press statement saying an aide made a mistake. When corporations infringe on copyrights nothing happens. When the music industry is found to have infringed on copyrights nothing happens. The only people subject to punishment are the commoner.

If laws applied to us all equally then lawmakers would stop passing asinine laws.

Re:Sounds good (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 3 months ago | (#46047071)

Give it another three or four years. The law or something like it will pass, a bunch of teenagers will get thrown in jail, a politician will violate the law in his campaign advertising and nothing will happen to anyone. That's the time to break out the pitchforks and torches.

But of course that won't happen. The long slow slide into the kind of repressive regime normally found only in fiction will continue effectively unopposed. The majority of the population will honestly agree that "they should be punished for doing that" for basically any value of "they" and "that" which is incorporated into the propaganda machine. It's that powerful.

Online vs real world (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 3 months ago | (#46046455)

In online is sharing, you still have what someone that wouldnt pay for it got, in real world is stealing, you don't have anymore something. Digital "crimes" are qualitatively different from real world ones.

And over that US/UK governments are in an approved campaing of "sharing" the private IP of everyone in the civilized world, plus digitally sabotaging foreing companies/governments. That is the blue whale on the room (elephants are too tiny for that kind of analogies) that should be solved before questioning legality of what citizens do.

Re:Online vs real world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046657)

There's still overhead in producing content. While the bits you download may appear to be virtually free they're not to the people who produce them. And if you weren't going to buy it then why are you downloading it?

What's going on in the UK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046459)

All the time there's news about even more retarded legislation getting introduced in the UK.

Re:What's going on in the UK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046727)

Perpetual inbreeding.

How about applying copyright to corporations? (5, Interesting)

RichMan (8097) | about 3 months ago | (#46046463)

It seems to me when politicians or corporations misuse a photo or song they get off with a "opps". Yet they want to throw people in jail.
Step #1 should be much steeper penalties to corporations and other functioning entities that should have proper procedures in place to avoid violations.

Re:How about applying copyright to corporations? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046703)

Or just incorporate every individual citizen. I'm sorry I will be sure to give a stern warning to employee #1.

Re:How about applying copyright to corporations? (1)

Megol (3135005) | about 3 months ago | (#46046743)

No that's #2, #1 is removing copyrights from corporations letting only physical persons own them. #3 would be severely limiting licencing of rights (it is needed in a limited format to make distribution of collaborative works possible at all).

IMHO of course.

Re:How about applying copyright to corporations? (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 3 months ago | (#46046881)

So we want corporations to not be people for the sake of political contributions and such. But then we want corporations to be people when they infringe on copyrights? Corporations don't infringe on copyrights. The people that work and run the corporations infringe on the copyright.

How about we not assign any type of personhood to corporations and rather blame the people that should be blamed, the people responsible for making the decision and/or approving the decision.

Pirate Cinema (by Cory Doctorow) (2)

MondoGordo (2277808) | about 3 months ago | (#46046505)

it's a cautionary tale of our future. Peeps in the UK (and elsewhere!!) really need to wake up and stop this shit before it passes.

So, if I assaulted The Honourable John Leech MP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046561)

http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/sentencing_manual/common_assult/

Community Service to 6th months.

Sweet!

Yes, please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046683)

Throw all those repeat offenders at GCHQ in jail for ten years.

Looks like a large amout of these "copyright" B.S. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046697)

came from countries that uses the common law, or in lay-man terms, English-speaking countries.

I heard Zionism are invented in the U.K.?

When the world changes around you (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about 3 months ago | (#46046699)

So when technology and the interests of the people and technology all change around them and their business model, the best answer they can come up with is punishment? This is the interests of a few dominating the interests and even the needs of the masses. Perhaps not the best definition of tyranny but it rather fits.

Nature abhors a vacuum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46046931)

Piracy is filling a void that the content industry refuses to do - provide cheap, global, easy access to non-DRM content, on a VAST scale, as well as giving access to content that the copyright owners aren't currently even selling in any format.

A series of thin walls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46047003)

OK, my neighbor in my apartment building plays all these loud songs right? So can't I just call Homeland Security on the f&%$er?

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